The effects of stress on health are devastating. It decreases immune response, raises blood pressure, and can lead to anxiety or depression.
The newest research shows stress also speeds up the aging process. Research finds high stress and anxiety actually shortens the length of DNA telomere strands, a hallmark of early aging.
As DNA telomeres shorten, their structure is weakened, causing cells to age more quickly or die.
In one study, the difference in telomere lengths for women of the same age who were highly phobic versus not phobic was equal to six years of aging!
Other research finds untreated depression can shorten DNA telomeres, and increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and stroke.
Aging is a normal body process. However, there’s no question that some people age faster than others. Poor nutrition clearly plays a role in early aging, but so does a high stress lifestyle.
Here are just a few body signs and symptoms of early aging to watch for:
While we can’t stop the aging process, we can take protective steps to make sure our bodies remain healthy and vital well past middle age.
If you feel like stress is aging you, start today to safeguard your health with natural therapies.
Here are a few choices:
Begin and end each day with a meditation practice. A guided meditation doesn’t take very long, yet it’s one of the best ways to relieve chronic stress.
If you struggle to meditate alone, consider a meditation group. After awhile, you may find meditation has changed your entire life and outlook for the good!
Affirmations retrain your brain to think positively. Negative thinking patterns are often so ingrained into us we hardly notice them.
Pay attention to your internal dialogue. Do you say hurtful or negative things to yourself? Switch up your internal dialogue to be positive.
Pick out some affirmations to try and write them down. Keep them on your desk or posted on a mirror. Say them at least twice a day, or whenever you need a mood lift. Here are a few simple examples:
I am enough.
I am confident and capable.
I greet my day with happiness and amazement.
I find this approach has really helped me to manage stressful emotions on busy days.
Massage therapy is powerful medicine for chronic stress. Massage treatments help to increase production of mood elevating chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin.
One study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine finds regular massage treatments could add as many as 6 years to your total lifespan by lowering blood pressure.
Aromatherapy uses the power of scent to heal and relax your body. It can be a very effective tool to help manage stress.
Essential oils from plants like lavender, lemon balm, and jasmine all have unique benefits for your emotional well being, and have been used in healing for centuries.
Note that essential oils are very concentrated. Just use a few drops in an aromatherapy diffuser or rub them (diluted with a carrier oil like almond oil) on the feet or body.
Herbs help to nourish nervous system health, and can be used to calm acute stress. Taken over time, herbs can even help the body to become resilient to stressors. You will feel the difference with herbs for stress.
The role of stress in premature aging is significant. A stress reduction plan can increase your well being, and may help you to live longer.
For a long, healthy life, take an active role in keeping your stress levels low.
It’s important to note that diet is another major factor in early aging. Use your stress reduction therapies with an anti-aging Immune Dietfor the best results.